Hamlin Garland: a life by Keith Newlin

By Keith Newlin

In reputation of his achievements in literature, Hamlin Garland (1860–1940) got 4 honorary doctorates and a Pulitzer Prize. Keith Newlin lines the increase of this prairie farm boy with a half-formed ambition to write down who then skyrocketed into overseas prominence sooner than he used to be 40. His lifestyles is a narrative of ironic contradictions: the novel whose early success thrust him to the leading edge of literary innovation yet whose evolutionary aesthetic rules couldn't themselves adapt to altering stipulations; the self-styled “veritist” whose credo demanded that he confirm each truth yet whose credulity led him to spend a life-time looking to be certain the lifestyles of spirits. His desire for acceptance prompted him to domesticate profitable friendships with the leaders of literary tradition, but even if he attained that popularity, it used to be by no means sufficient, and his self-doubt triggered him matches of black despair. The first and simply different biography of Hamlin Garland used to be released greater than 40 years in the past; considering that then, letters, manuscripts, and kin memoirs have surfaced to supply, besides altering literary scholarship, a extra evaluative and significant interpretation of Garland’s lifestyles and instances. Hamlin Garland: A lifestyles is an exploration of Garland’s contributions to American literary tradition and areas his paintings in the creative context of its time. (20081001)

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61 To Hamlin’s aid came his mother, who intervened to support her son’s ambition. 63 Dick finally consented, provided Hamlin would agree to remain through the fall harvest, for the family depended on his labor. The effect of Hamlin’s defiance of his father’s will was to forever instill in him an unrelenting desire to succeed in an effort to show that the life of the mind is better than life as a farmer. When plowing and corn husking ended in October, well after the start of school, Hamlin rejoined his classmates at the seminary, arranging to room with his friend Burton Babcock in a boardinghouse Monday through Friday at two dollars per week for room and board.

Other comments reflect a more personal investment and even a barely concealed antagonism toward his father: “Fred Hall, a onetime ‘Senior-Middler,’ is pursuing his studies at home, on the farm. He may congratulate himself if they are all he is obliged to pursue. ” Elsewhere in the issue, a paragraph ascribes characteristics to each of the seven graduating men, reflecting the impression each has made on his peers. indd 38 3/4/2008 3:39:06 PM capabilities, but in his physical prowess. ” When he later became famous, townspeople had difficulty reconciling the public Hamlin Garland with the awkward, sometimes arrogant youth they remembered.

He wondered. indd 31 1 2 3 4 5T 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 31 3/4/2008 3:39:05 PM from the public schools. ”49 Mindful of his farm origins, he would never entirely lose his sense of social inferiority even after he had achieved renown and distinction. While he struggled with mathematics, Hamlin excelled at oratory. He had always been fascinated by listening to the local preacher thunder forth during Sunday meetings, but at the seminary he heard, for the first time, skilled teachers declaim the classics.

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